his month (November 2011) we
welcome back Steven Grant, well known U. K. aquarist
and author. He
takes a look at the small anchor catfish, Erethistesjerdoni.
factsheet is about a dwarf catfish usually known in
the hobby as the Anchor Catfish. A short note about
the generic name used here: Most hobbyists and aquarium
literature use the generic name Hara Blyth
1860 for this species. However, Thomson & Page
(2006) synonymised Hara with the older name
Erethistes Müller & Troschel 1849.
Ng & Kottelat (2007) do not agree with this and
because of this and the prevailing usage in the scientific
community I will use the name Hara here.
This is the easiest
of the Hara (Erethistes)
species to identify as it always stays small (2.5cm
SL maximum), its pectoral fins are proportionately
very long, and the posterior processes of the coracoid
reach the insertion of the ventral fin.
When I first kept
this fish many years ago it was kept in a tank with
a gravel substrate and undergravel filter. They did
okay but recently I have kept them on a substrate
of sand and they have done much better. Through the
day they live in Java Fern or Java Moss and when the
lights are turned off they swim very energetically
looking for food. They don’t seem to appreciate
a fast flow of water and in the wild they have been
found in sluggish water with lots of vegetation so
this should be replicated for them in the aquarium.
They seem to prefer cooler temperatures but will be
okay up to around 78°F.
eat dried foods so need to be fed with live or frozen
foods. I have noticed mine eating aufwuchs of the
fronds of Java Moss. They can be bred as testified
by the spawning account of Adrian Taylor, BAP secretary
of the Catfish
Study Group. All
in all they are an interesting and rewarding little
catfish and one that is recommended.
(2020): There are some publications that still
mention this species as Hara jerdoni. Erethistes
jerdoni was named due to a paper published in
2006 by Ichthyologists Alfred W Thompson & Lawrence
M. Page of the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Ferraris (2007) also stated that the Erethistidae
be moved back into the Sisoridae family.
Asia: India, Bangladesh.
Type locality: River Kosi, now Hooghly
River south of Ranaghat, by neotype designation.
D 1/5i; A 3/5i-6i; P 1/4i;
V 1/5. Head and body moderately compressed. Dorsal
profile curved from tip of snout to level of nares,
then evenly sloping to origin of dorsal fin; evenly
sloping ventrally to origin of adipose fin and gently
concave from origin of adipose fin to end of caudal
peduncle. Ventral profile flat to pelvic-fin base;
sloping gently dorsally to end of anal-fin base and
gently concave from end of anal-fin base to end of
caudal peduncle. Strong and very long pectoral fin
spines and post-coracoid processes. Skin with tubercles.
Base colour can be grey, light
brown, reddish brown or dark brown, with mottling
caused by darker patches or bands. An albino specimen
was found in West Bengal, India.
Care & Compatibility
An extremely peaceful species.
Its diminutive size and tiny mouth meaning it can
be safely kept with any species. Should be kept with
small, peaceful tankmates.
Has been bred
by UK Asian catfish enthusiast Adrian Taylor.
There are no proven
external sexual differences, but females appear to
get a deeper and wider body, and their pectoral fins
spines appear more convex.
Will eat most small live foods.
Bloodworm (live or frozen), Cyclops, small daphnia,
microworm etc. They also appear to eat aufwuchs from
plants, notably Java Moss.
Anal fin:The fin forward from the anal cavity. Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection
without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin. Caudal peduncle: The area between
the dorsal fin and the tail. Coracoid: Middle and lower section
of the pectoral girdle. Pectoral fin: The paired fins after head and
before anal fin. Pelvic fins: The paired fins, between
the pectorals and the anal fins. (also referred to
as ventrals). Tubercles: Tentacle-like projections.
paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins.
Etymology not explained, presumably erethizon, porcupine
and–istes, adjectival suffix, i.e., porcupine-like,
referring to strong and serrated dorsal and pectoral-fin
spines. jerdoni: Named after the
ichthyologist T C Jerdon.
Taylor. pers comm.
Ng, H. H., 2010. The monophyly and composition
of the Asian hillstream catfish family Sisoridae (Teleostei:
Siluriformes): evidence from morphology.
Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters v. 21 (no.
Ng, H. H. and M. Kottelat, 2007. A review
of the catfish genus Hara, with the description of
four new species (Siluriformes: Erethistidae). Revue
Suisse de Zoologie v. 114 (no. 3): 471-505. Thomson, A. W. and L. M. Page, 2006.
Genera of the Asian catfish families Sisoridae and
Erethistidae (Teleostei: Siluriformes). Zootaxa No.